Best Salmon Fishing Reels
To save you the shopping hassle, we have compiled a list of our top five salmon fishing reels that tick all the above boxes and don’t cost a fortune.
The KastKing Sharky III is a state-of-the-art spinning reel that combines the best materials for impressive durability and is ideal for trophy fishing. It packs a heavy punch with up to 39.5 lb. of drag, high gear ratio for easy and quick reeling, and boasts of KastKing’s patented K.I.S.S system for superior waterproof performance. It comes with 11 durable steel ball bearings for smooth, quiet operation, an impressive line capacity, and an anti-reverse switch for great line control.
- Superior drag and waterproof performance.
- Highly durable, with impressive line capacity.
- Smooth, quiet operation, with anti-reverse control
The Daiwa BG spinning reel sports a sleek design and comes in a lightweight anodized aluminum housing that is highly durable. It boasts of up to 17.6 lbs. of drag, a 5.6:1 gear ratio for high-torque reeling, and an aluminum ABS spool that can accommodate up to 210 yards of 12 lb. line. It also comes with an anti-reverse system, a low-friction air rotor, and a screwable ergonomic handle for the most comfort and easy replacement.
- Sleek design, highly durable.
- Impressive drag and line capacity.
- Easy operation and tangle-free performance.
The KastKIng Royale Legend II comes as a baitcasting reel, sports a low-profile, sleek design and packs the top-notch bearing performance of higher-end reels from the company into a very affordable unit. It comes in two 5.4:1 and 7.2:1 models for big and small salmon respectively, is very lightweight, and can take up to 130 yards of 10 lb. mono line and 90 yards of 65 lbs. braid line. All its components are made from durable, high-strength materials, it comes with up to 17.6 lb. of drag, and 8-button magnetic braking system for superior casting performance.
- Low-profile design and smooth performance.
- Impressive reeling power and line capacity.
- Highly durable, impressive drag, and braking performance.
The Piscifun Sword reel is ideal for anglers who want to fly-fish salmon and boasts of smooth and silent performance. It features a highly durable aluminum alloy construction, a hollow design for minimal weight, and is anodized for exceptional corrosion-resistance. It also minimizes line memory, enhances quick line pick up, and is very convenient to use.
- Perfect for fly-fishing salmon.
- Excellently durable and corrosion-resistant.
- Lightweight and convenient to use.
The Okuma trolling reel is ideal for large salmon and stands out with its line counter, sports a single handle, and comes with 2BB+1RB bearings for smooth performance. It boasts of the best materials for superior durability, is highly corrosion-resistant, and delivers up to 20 lb. of drag. It also comes with a 4.2:1 gear ratio for excellent cranking torque, large ergonomic handle for the most comfort, and a line capacity of up to 430 yards of 25 lb. line, great for trolling.
- High reeling torque and comfortable to use.
- Superior durability and drag performance.
- Easy to use controls and smooth performance.
Salmon Fishing Reel Buying Guide
Salmon is a favorite for us humans and animals like bears, and if you are going to compete with powerful beasts for this tasty fish, a high-quality salmon reel should suffice. It should grant you excellent control over your line and generate enough reeling torque to handle the fleeing fish.
Our buying guide reviews the best salmon fishing reels on the market based on their specified features and tested performance to give you the best options to choose from. We then take it a step further to outline the particular factors you should consider and qualities you should look out for in a salmon fishing reel before you make a purchase.
Your salmon fishing reel should be built from the best materials that will resist corrosion and ensure long service. It should combine low weight with high strength for the best performance. When choosing a salmon fishing reel, you should not compromise on quality for affordability. Cheap plastic reels should be avoided when possible. Instead, materials like graphite, aluminum alloys, and composites like carbon fiber are what you should look out for.
Graphite is a great material in salmon fishing reels as it is very lightweight and tough. It is also very resistant to corrosion. For the best performance, aircraft-grade aluminum alloys and composites like carbon fiber salmon fishing reels are the ideal choice but are more expensive.
While fishing reels come in many different types, baitcasting reels, spinning reels, and fly fishing reels are the most commonly used for salmon.
Spinning reels are the most popular reel type and are very easy to use. They offer the advantage of being less prone to backlash, impressive casting range, and are very beginner-friendly.
Baitcasting reels are more common among experienced anglers and are used to tackle larger salmon. They can accommodate heavier lines and deliver higher torque than spinning reels. While they don’t cast bait as far as spinning reels, they offer more accurate casts. They are, however, more prone to backlash.
Fly fishing reels allows anglers to cast very light lures and greatly imitate insect, raising the chances of a catch.
When fishing salmon, the right reel with the right amount of drag will help you conserve your energy and minimize the risk of your line snapping. Instead of relying totally on your reeling effort to slow and tire out your catch, the drag does this for you allowing the line to unspool under resistance. The drag rating will determine the size of the salmon you can reel in. Higher drag ratings will allow you to work larger fish. The drag setting, however, should never be set above the load capacity of the line as the latter will snap before the reel is forced to turn. Salmon fishing reels with adjustable drag settings should peak at anywhere between 10 lbs. to up to 40 lbs.
Another important factor for a salmon fishing reel is its line capacity or amount of line it can hold. Salmon put up a decent fight, so your reel should store enough line for your catch to flee and tire out without running out of line. Line capacities are usually specified as a two-figure value representing the length of a particular load-tested line the reel can accommodate.
So a salmon fishing reel with line capacity 12 lb./165 yard can take 165 yards of fishing line with a maximum rated pulling load of 12 lb.